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Lauren is an Underwriting Training Specialist at insurance company, Zurich. She first got involved as a business mentor with the Envision programme after seeing an ad for the volunteering opportunity through work.

New adventures

She first got involved as part of a mentoring team with the Envision programme after seeing an advert for the volunteering opportunity through work.

Lauren felt it was something she could challenge herself with as it was far removed from the technicalities of her usual job and would push her to adapt and talk to different people in new ways. Lauren felt she often enforced high expectations on herself so was excited about the opportunity, but also slightly apprehensive (as many of us are when doing anything new)!

A steady path to success

Her company was partnered with Bristnall Hall Academy, a school based in Oldbury on the outskirts of Birmingham. Lauren faced several challenges to start with, missing a few sessions and feeling disappointed at the number of sessions that were being delivered virtually due to Covid.

But she enjoyed coaching the young people through the programme and answering their questions about the world of work and parts of life they feel they don’t get answers to in school.

Later, Lauren threw herself at another opportunity to volunteer with a second cohort of young people. Her commitment to supporting her mentees to develop their skills and to developing her own skills as a mentor was even more evident this time around. The students loved having Lauren as an extension of their team and she certainly did what she set out to do by ‘keeping it real’ with them.

Lauren’s professional yet relaxed approach to her role as a business mentor allowed the young people to do the same: relax into a professional setting. The safe space she created allowed them to flourish as they tried new things. Each time she met her team, Lauren was inspired by the impact she was having on them and was rewarded seeing the improvement in their confidence and skills. Lauren valued playing such a significant role in enriching and recognising her students’ skills beyond the classroom.

A journey of self-reflection

Over the year, alongside supporting and empowering the young people to develop skills and witness them become even more passionate about social issues they care about, Lauren reflected that her biggest learning on the programme was a personal one; ‘As the programme went on, I became less critical.’ Lauren explained that she often deflected her own high standards onto others around her.

Lauren was so proud and pleased to be a part of the young people’s journey, but it’s also been a pleasure for us at Envision to be a part of hers too.

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